Understanding What to Do After a Hit and Run Car Accident in California
No one plans to be in a motor vehicle crash. It can be frustrating, aggravating, and overwhelming—especially if you suffered serious personal injuries. But the only thing that could be more frustrating, aggravating, and overwhelming is when the motor vehicle collision is a hit and run car accident in California. Even though California Vehicle Code section 20002 requires a motorist of any vehicle involved in an accident to immediately stop, located the other driver or leave a note, and contact the police department, far too many motorists fail to comply with these obligations. Sometimes that is because a driver has a suspended license or is intoxicated, whereas other times the driver did not even notice or care. But there are also times where a driver purposely hits another vehicle and tries to avoid liability, especially if personal injuries are likely.
We do not think that is fair. At the Broadway Law Firm, our compassionate and experienced Los Angeles car accident lawyers know that victims hurt in a hit and run accident need to get their medical bills, lost wages, and their pain and suffering compensated. But when another motorist leaves the scene of an accident, it can be much harder for a victim to recover the compensation that he or she deserves. If you or a loved one were involved in a hit and run accident, learn how we can protect your rights to compensation during a FREE case evaluation by dialing 213.444.3155.
What to Do After a Hit and Run Accident in California
If you were involved in a hit and run accident in California, there are important steps to immediately take to protect both your life and your claim. First and most importantly, if you have been injured—even if you think slightly—immediately call 911 and ask for police and medical professionals. Explain to them everything that happened and immediately get medical treatment or care. Do not play hero. If something hurts, tell them and follow all instructions. This includes going to the hospital to get further evaluation and medical treatment.
Next, make sure to tell the police what happened and a description of the other vehicle. Give as many details as you can. Look for witnesses and advise police who may have been a witness. This may include looking for surveillance cameras on nearby homes or businesses that may have captured on video what happened or got the other vehicle on camera. Note that sometimes these cameras may not be right at the accident scene, but sometimes cameras could be further away or on streets that the defendant would have had to take to get away from the scene.
Finally, contact a Los Angeles hit and run lawyer before contacting your insurance company. Yes, all motorists must immediately notify their insurance company of a claim. But insurance issues with hit and run drivers can be very complicated in at fault states because your insurance company may even turn on you. This is why it is imperative to immediately contact a lawyer to handle your insurance claim and your case.
Common Insurance Issues in Hit and Run Accidents
California is an at fault insurance state, meaning that injured victims turn to the at fault driver’s insurance company for compensation. But in a hit and run accident, the driver at fault leaves the scene and there is no information available to contact the defendant’s insurance company. Some victims will not know where to turn or how to recover compensation for their personal injuries. However, there are certain options that victims may have under California law.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
In addition to being required under California law to have certain minimum limits of car insurance, there are other types of auto insurance policies that an individual may purchase. One important type is called uninsured motorist cover, or UIM. It allows a victim who is injured in a motor vehicle accident with a defendant who does not have any insurance to still recover compensation for lost wages, medical bills, and even pain and suffering.
While this sounds like an uncommon type of auto insurance to have, most motorists are surprised to learn that they do have some type of UIM coverage. It is important to hire an experienced Los Angeles auto accident lawyer to review an entire claim to determine whether or not a defendant has this type of insurance coverage. Insurance companies and adjusters will often try to hide this type of coverage unless it is specifically invoked by a claimant.
Workers Compensation Insurance
If you were hurt in a hit and run car accident while within the scope of employment, you may be entitled to submit a workers compensation claim with your employer. This type of insurance allows for reimbursement of medical bills and a certain amount of lost wages due to workplace injury. It does not matter who was at fault for the injury. As long as the injury occurred during work or because of employment, a victim is usually entitled to benefits.
In a hit and run accident where the defendant cannot be found, a worker who is injured while “on the clock” could still have medical bills and a fair percentage of lost wages reimbursed. A victim who is unable to return to work due to a temporary or permanent disability may also be entitled to compensation in certain instances.
Workers compensation claims for auto accident cases are not ideal, often not allowing for pain and suffering to be compensated, but they will allow a victim to have some reimbursement.
Almost always the least ideal option but a possible option is using private health insurance after a hit and run accident in California. This is the least ideal because it will only cover medical bills and treatment, not lost wages or pain and suffering. In addition, health insurance often must be reimbursed under ERISA if the defendant is located and the victim is able to successfully recover compensation from the defendant. This is usually done through a medical lien, which can often eat up the entire settlement or verdict.
Injured by a Hit and Run Driver in California? Call Our Law Firm
All motor vehicle accidents can be frustrating or even confusing. Unfortunately, the frustration and confusion are magnified in motor vehicle accidents involving a hit and run driver. Many motorists injured simply do not know where to turn. But one place to always turn is the Broadway Law Firm.
Our experienced Los Angeles car accident lawyers can help explore your options and recover the compensation that you may be entitled to. This includes conducting an investigation to determine whether we can identify the defendant who fled the scene. If not, we will review your auto insurance to look for every possible way to recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and your pain and suffering. Learn how we can help by calling 213.444.3155 or using our easy-to-use contact us box available by clicking the link here.